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Behind the scenes: the making of Abstract Assembly

Abstract Assembly - Donna Wilson

This month sees the launch of the newest additions to my Abstract Assembly body of work, currently on display in the window of SCP’s  Shoreditch showroom. Over the last few months, I’ve been working on ten table-top sculptures, made from ash, Douglas fir, oak and reclaimed wood – three of which feature hand-blown, coloured glass elements. As the essence of Abstract Assembly is as much about the journey as the destination, I wanted to share an insight into the production process.

Abstract Assembly began as an experiment in composition, seeking unique tensions between forms, colours and materials. While these weren’t the first sculptures in the Abstract Assembly collection, this was the first time I’d experimented with integrating glass into the wooden frameworks. I worked with an old friend Michael Ruh and his wife Natascha Wahl, who have a glass-blowing studio in South London.

Michael Ruh Tools

I wanted the coloured glass to exhale into the spaces within the wooden sculptures, so I created specific sections for the glass inhabit.

Aided by Natascha, Michael blew the molten coloured glass into the negative spaces within the sculptures, which were then put into the kiln to gradually cool.

The intense heat and fire of the molten glass scorched the wood as it came into contact with it, creating beautiful burn marks.

Once the blown glass shapes had begun to cool, they were re-inserted into their wooden moulds, and carefully manipulated to ensure a perfect fit.

Once they’d cooled fully, the glass orbs came to rest within each sculpture.

Each sculpture is constructed by Jon Almond from abstract shaped pieces of ash, Douglas fir, oak and or reclaimed wood, and held together using a combination of wood glue and dominoes, which are clamped overnight to set. I then sand and hand-paint each one using a combination of gloss and water-based paints then they’re finished with a clear, natural lacquer.

You can view the full Abstract Assembly collection on the website now, and follow my journey on Instagram.

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